Waterproof Digital Camera Housings Versus Waterproof Cameras


Once upon a time life was easy. We had 35mm cameras that came in all shapes and sizes. But if you wanted to take pictures in the water you either shelled out for an expensive underwater Nikon (or some comparable specialist camera), or you bought a disposable underwater camera from the gift shop. Nowadays thanks to the enormous growth in the digital camera market there are some more accessible choices available. This article will explore a few options that are not too expensive and readily available.



To start with, the 35mm waterproof cameras are still available, and a great option if you want something quick, easy, and going to survive for the one-off trip to the beach. Both Kodak and Fuji make such cameras and any minilab should be able to process the film. The disadvantage of these cameras is that they are fixed lens, fixed focus, and have no picture control. There are better alternatives.



Next step up you can source a waterproof digital camera housing. These are “skins” or covers for your digital camera that keep the water out, along with sand, dust, dirt, mud, and any other particle likely to ruin a camera without protection. The advantages of housings is that they relatively affordable (compared to an waterproof camera), plus if you already have a digital camera you don’t have to invest in any new technology and the time to learn how to use it!



There are many housings available. You can go with a housing from the manufacturer of your camera, and these will fit the camera like a glove. Most of these housings will extend the camera controls so you can operate the camera through the housing. Another option is a generic cover such as Dicapac. These housings will accommodate a variety of camera manufacturers, but you won’t get the tight fit or the button control that you would from a manufacturer’s housing



Finally you can invest in a digital waterproof camera. The cheapest digital camera that is waterproof will cost upwards of $ 180 for the most basic models. Be sure to read the fine print before purchasing, because what might be promoted as waterproof, might in fact be merely “water resistant”, “weatherproof”, or “splash resistant”. In other words they will survive a bit of rain and a few drops, but not being submersed underwater! And ones that do go underwater might have a limited depth. If you are going to dive any deeper than a few feet for snorkeling on a shallow reef you better be absolutely sure that the camera is designed for such an environment. Fuji and Olympus produce a range of water resistant cameras at consumer-level prices.



So which is best? Use this guide to help decide:

If you only want to take a few happy snaps on a single vacation then a disposable waterproof camera is ideal


If you want something that will last for two or more trips, and/or give you high quality pictures, then waterproof digital camera housing is best


If you are regularly heading in to the water (or snow, or sand) and don’t mind carrying around a specialist camera, then a waterproof digital camera will give you great shots without the need to carry around a special case and take care of it.



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